What Is a Secretary Certificate?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A secretary certificate is a professional document that certifies a candidate has completed coursework intended to prepare him or her for the duties and job responsibilities of a secretary or administrative certificate. Sometimes the secretary certificate focuses on a broader base of knowledge, while in other cases the certificate may focus on one type of secretarial work. Medical secretary certificates, for example, will train a student to become a secretary in the medical field by providing general training as well as training specific to the medical industry. A legal secretary will need to earn a certificate specific to that area of expertise as well.

A candidate who wants to earn a secretary certificate will need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent qualification first. Basic math and communications skills will be necessary, though the training involved in earning a secretary certificate will often focus on helping the student develop these skills even further. It may take a year to two years to earn the certificate, after which time the student will be better prepared for a job in the industry of his or her choosing. Having a certificate is a good resume booster that will make the certificate holder a more valuable job candidate.


Of course, some employers will require that a potential employee earn a secretary certificate in order to be considered for a job. This is especially true in medical and legal settings. A secretary in such settings will usually need to have basic knowledge of the medical or legal field in addition to the skills necessary to be an effective secretary. In the case of the medical field, the secretary will often need to take a class that teaches him or her basic medical terminology, as he or she is likely to encounter a significant amount of it on the job. Legal secretaries, too, will end up dealing with correspondence and other documents that are heavy with legal language.

Earning a secretary certificate may also qualify that secretary for better pay and benefits. Entry level secretarial positions may not pay exceptionally well, but a job candidate will better his or her chances of getting a higher salary by earning a certificate. As a secretary advances in his or her career, it is possible to earn a certificate along the way, thereby giving the secretary more credentials for a higher level position, better pay, better benefits, and more.


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Post 3

@fBoyle-- I think outside of the medical and legal fields, these certificates become important only if the person has little to no work experience. I don't think that many place will ask someone with ten years or more in secretarial work for a certificate. But a young individual who hasn't really worked as a secretary will improve his or her chances of getting hired by completing a secretary certification program.

Post 2

@stoneMason-- I'm not an expert on this topic but I think that a secretary certificate is enough. So if you know for sure that this is the field that you want to work in as a secretary, definitely apply for a certificate program that caters to it. Even if you get a general secretary certificate, the hospital or other medical center for which you will apply will probably require a medical secretary certificate as well.

I think there may be exceptions to this rule. I've heard that a few hospitals might be willing to train their secretaries about medical terms and processes. But generally, hospitals prefer to hire people who are already trained in it and are ready to start working immediately.

Post 1

I want to work as a medical secretary. Do I need to first get a general secretary certificate and then a medical secretary certificate? Or can I start working with only a medical secretary certificate?

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